Aromatherapy: Which oil you use is actually essential.
If you’re new to Aromatherapy, then let me start by explaining a little about what it is, and how it works. Aromatherapy is a Holistic healing treatment that uses oils extracted from plants to promote well being. The oils are traditionally inhaled, or diluted, and placed on the body during a massage. For over 5,000 years, aromatherapy has been used by cultures spanning the planet.
Natural healers turn to aromatherapy for the many anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of aromatic essential oils with their terpenes still intact. Aromatherapy works primarily through sense of smell. Humans have almost 20 million olfactory neurons in our nasal cavities, so when we smell the aromatic molecules, they stimulate these neurons. An interesting fact about these neurons is that they have tiny tentacles that enable them to recognize, and remember specific scents.
In order to inhale the scents Aromatherapy offers, you can either use essential oils on a cloth and inhale them… or you can purchase an item called a diffuser, which is a small unit that turns water into mist. You place the essential oil, or oils in the water using a dropper. I say oils, because you actually can combine multiple oils together for a unique, or interesting scent.
You can order a small diffuser, and essential oils online from major retailers like Amazon, and Ebay. Most diffusers are pretty much the same, with the amount of water they can hold being the primary difference. They come in all shapes, and sizes, and are made of all kinds of different materials.
Many even offer multi colored LED lights that shift slowly from one color to the next. In most cases, if the oils are good quality, and you have a 200-300ml unit… you can get by with adding about 10-12 drops of whatever oil you wish to use. Most diffusers range anywhere from 100ml to 500ml and cost from 15 bucks up to about 75.
The key to all of this is the essential oils. Pure essential oils are required for the Aromatherapy to actually work. The reason is simple… what makes the scent you are smelling once the diffuser is running is actually produced by terpenes… not the oils themselves. If extracted correctly, the terpenes are left intact so when they are turned into mist by the diffuser, you are able to get the therapeutic benefit.
Extraction using CO2 keeps all the terpenes intact so you’re able to get the full benefit. Without the terpenes in the essential oils, any scent you’re inhaling is fragrance instead… and that can actually be harmful to your lungs, or even cause a severe allergic reaction in some cases. Many imported essential oils contain solvents, and fragrance… which means they are not at all pure. Essential Oils need to be totally pure therapeutic grade oils. No additives. No fragrance. Nothing but the oils themselves. If that’s the case, then they should be full of terpenes.
So what are terpenes? They are aromatic compounds found in nature that give most all plants their scent. If you love the smell of Lavender for instance… then you’re smelling a terpene called Linalool. If citrus smells make you feel energized… you can thank the terpene Limonene. These terpenes are very valuable to an essential oils ability to heal, as they are in fact doing most of the work in Holistic medicine using Aromatherapy. Each terpene has it’s own profile so to speak, and through clinical trials, and studies scientists are discovering that terpenes are truly amazing. Some offer anti-inflammatory abilities, while others offer anti-cancer, anti-tumor, anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-anxiety, and neuroprotective properties.
More and more research is being conducted on all the benefits terpenes have to offer, and it appears to be many. There are over 20,000 terpenes in plants found in nature… with over 200 in the Cannabis plant alone, and a large percent have not even been researched. The more abundant ones such as limonene, myrcene. pinene, beta-caryophyllene, and linalool found in plants, and fruits are getting more attention currently.
Aromatherapy is a fantastic way to elevate your mood, or calm your anxiety using various essential oils. Just make certain the ones you purchase are pure therapeutic grade essential oils with absolutely nothing in them other than the oil itself. No fragrances, and no solvents of any kind. This way you can be relatively certain the terpenes are intact. You can also purchase terpenes themselves in carrier oils, so if you’re just interested in getting hold of terpenes to inhale, or mix with a diluted substance to put on yourself… that’s another option.
I’ve also heard of people purchasing pure essential oils, and adding additional amounts of the appropriate terpene to boost it. As an example… adding the pure terpene limonene to an orange/citrus essential oil. Limonene is present in orange and lemon rinds, so it should be in the orange essential oil, so adding limonene just boosts the terpenes effectiveness.
If you’ve never tried Aromatherapy then it’s a great way to relax, or use as a meditation aide. Whatever your reasons are, it’s a relatively inexpensive way to promote well being in your home, or office.